You would think, given the furore over McKayla Maroney's vault silver and Mustafina's tying for third (and eventually winning) in the AA, that these gymnasts had somehow cheated and deductions had not been applied properly. Given the open-ended scoring, relying on the gymnast's own difficulty, medals with falls were literally impossible in the old perfect 10 system- despite the deductions for a fall being much less. The current COP has sought to offset this by upping the fall deduction to a full point. It was 0.8 last quad. But there have been several medals with a fall since the new scoring, 2006, and possibly even before then. Certainly there are more than most people think, yet only a few inspire uproar!
McKayla Maroney, Vault Event Final- Silver
McKayla's fall on her second vault took a full point off in the execution score. However, vault is easier than other event finals to bounce back from, because the fall deduction averages to 0.5 when the two vaults are averaged. McKayla had the highest difficulty and there was extremely little to deduct in the second vault except for the fall and lack of height. Interestingly enough, had she landed her amanar in bounds (she received an 0.3 deduction for not doing so)- she would have taken gold. Her medal is testimony to what an excellent vaulter she is, and also how weak the rest of the vault field was. If a girl with a fall and an out of bounds can beat you, then something is wrong. Izbasa's vaults were extremely weak for a gold winner, and Paseka's should have received a boatload of deductions, not least for not being fully around.
Yamilet Pena and Janine Berger both qualified to vault finals with a fall.
Aliya Mustafina, AA- Bronze
This is a bit of an odd one, because she did NOT win bronze with a fall. She tied for bronze with a fall. The medal was determined by her and Raisman's top 3 scores, so the beam of both was dropped. Therefore her beam had nothing to do with how the medal was determined- so it wasn't won with a fall. Nevertheless, Aly had a huge mistake on beam so she couldn't drop her weak bars. So she was left with counting a weak event. Mustafina did not count any weak event, and had 7.0 bars. Not a gigantic surprise there. Only 4 gymnasts were capable of vying for a medal. Mustafina was able to be one of those 4. In what world are Sandra Izbasa, Deng Linlin and Huang Qiushuang top AA-ers?
Yao Jinnan, AA- Bronze
Yes, this one flies well under the radar. Yao fell off beam and would have ended the eternal Komova V Wieber controversy by beating them both had she stayed on. She was still able to score a 13.933 for an excellent beam, which was well able to beat Raisman's disaster of a time on bars where she received a 12.9. This was another fairly weak field, with Ana Porgras dropping well down due to her FTY and Huang Qiushuang once again being a bit of a headcase.
Rebecca Bross, AA- Bronze
Rebecca also fell off beam. She received an extremely high score- 14.1, which was an overscore given the rest of the routine, which was not perfect. However, Huang Qiushuang whow as 4th had a bit of a nightmare on floor so the placement is probably correct. Another win with a fall that is totally blanked.
Rebecca Bross, AA- Silver
Rebecca missed her tuck full in her last pass and put her hands down- which is technically a fall, and received an extremely low 12.875 for it. She had very high difficulty and only lost to Bridget Sloan by half a tenth, in yet another example of a desperately weak field.
Cheng Fei, Vault Event Final- Bronze
This is the other medal with a fall that people remember, not just because of the fall but because she still managed to beat Alicia Sacramone, who vaulted cleanly. The reason behind this was that Cheng Fei had so much more difficulty than Alicia that the fall made very little difference. The difference in difficulty in Cheng's favour is 0.45. The fall (worth 0.8 in this code) averaged to 0.4.Alicia hopped on her landings and great as her form is, Cheng's is second to none. Controversial- but understandable.
Nastia Liukin and He Kexin both qualified into the uneven bars final despite falls in prelims because of their extremely high difficulty.
Jade Barbosa, AA- Bronze (tie)
Jade brought a full-in pike to her knees and touched the floor with her hands, receiving a score of 14.00. Her high difficulty across her events still brought her up higher than 4th and 5th place finishers, Nastia Liukin and Yang Yilin. Her beam and vault really sealed the deal, and the high bars scores of the other 2 were no match.
Vanessa Ferrari, AA- bronze (tie)
Vanessa fell on her Comaneci on bars, literally a few seconds in. Similar to Barbosa, her high difficulty was enough to keep her ahead of Liukin and Yang.
Li Shanshan, Beam Event Final- Silver (tie, no bronze awarded)
Li's beam was so flawless (fall aside) and so difficult- 0.6 and 0.7 more than the other medal winners, that this result was pretty much a no-brainer. She would have received a monster 16.7 without the fall and would have wiped the floor with Nastia and Steliana easily.
Vanessa Ferrari, AA- Gold
The only gold medal with a fall! Vanessa fell off beam, and still received a generous 14.9 (15.7 without the fall). She exploded onto the scene these championships, and coupled with ehr high difficulty was just about able to steal the scene from Jana Bieger, who also had very high difficulty. Her bars won the day for her, as Jana was weak there. This still does evoke controversy, but Vanessa was still clearly the better gymnast that day. Sandra Izbasa who came third had such a low bars score I thought she had fallen too. But nope, just very sloppy.
So, 10 falls taking medals (or tying for bronze, as the case may be before tiebreakers) since the introduction of the new code. And at least four qualifying into event finals with a fall. Bear in mind this is only covering the major competitions- Worlds and Olympics. Clearly it is more common than what the average fan thinks, yet the majority of the above are not remembered and not talked about! It's a shame to lambast some with falls and ignore the rest. It is possible there are falls with medals in the old perfect 10 code, and I will investigate that- though it is much harder then of course. If anyone knows of any, let me know!